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Gun-Free Bars: Good Sense, or Infringement?



Where does your right to defend yourself disappear? .05. .08, or .1?


Sometimes I witness a dumpster fire so spectacular that I am compelled to write about it. This go-round somebody brought up the fact that it is perfectly legal to consume a moderate amount of alcohol and drive home (depending on your state limit), however, you better not have a gun on you while you get yourself as close to that legal limit as possible. There were some great arguments for both sides, as some states have a zero-tolerance for carrying, some have a defined limit of intoxication while carrying, and some don’t even address it at all!


Before I go any further, let me state explicitly that I am in no way, shape, or form advocating the use of alcohol or drugs, in any amount, during any shooting activities. This includes basic maintenance, like cleaning. I am a firm believer that the two have no place together. 


Of course, if you’re forced into a defensive situation after you have already enjoyed a few cocktails, that’s a different story. Hey, maybe the altercation has happened at your home after a long day and you had no plans of picking up a gun until a threat appeared. Does that mean you have to live your life sober because you own a gun?


Moving forward, the above legal contradiction does deserve a little evaluation, as the same people write both the driving-while-intoxicated and the CCW laws. In some of these states, they believe that even a sip of alcohol is too much to merely have a pistol accessible, let alone use it. The same group, however, believes that when it comes to manipulating a 2,000-lb. vehicle, you can have a little buzz but are still “good enough.” Kinda crazy when you think about it.


The idea of course is that bars are often scenes of violence. After working in bars and restaurants for over a decade, I certainly cannot deny that. Lawmakers are concerned that if a disagreement breaks out, a gun is available to be introduced into the situation. Peaceful people often get beer muscles the second they THINK somebody is looking at their wife. There are many Jekyll and Hyde drinkers—hell, I’ve seen a tipsy pastor take a swing at somebody once! The effects of alcohol are often unpredictable. However, the basis of this law is built on “what if,” and that is an emotional response, not a logical response. In reality, arguments seldom escalate to the point that a firearm is introduced … but I digress.


“What if” laws are direct attacks at both our common sense and our freedoms. I have witnessed hundreds, if not thousands of arguments in bars. Seldom do they turn physical, let alone end in a shooting. Truth be told, a beer bottle is the easiest accessible weapon, often still in the offender’s hand (s). However, when push comes to shove (literally) very few people try to kill the other party to prove their point.


While “protection” is the goal of these laws, they put law-abiding citizens in a bad spot. I have made the choice not to drink when I am carrying a gun, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop eating chicken wings. (When it comes to wings, if you aren’t eating them past 10 p.m., you simply aren’t living your life right.)


So, let’s say I’m at my local bar for the late-night appetizer special. Suddenly XYZ comes in looking to loot both the register and the tip jar. It’s highly likely, as the restaurant isn’t busy and all the money to be made that night is already in the till. While I had no intention of drinking, the state I might be in may require me to leave my pistol home. Now what? Will the perp just take the money and leave? Will he shoot whoever saw him? I don’t know, I sure hope not.

Unfortunately, these laws have made “hope” my only option.


Remember bars are optional. If the crowd is that rough or the location that sketchy, one always has the option of visiting another establishment. Unfortunately, this doesn’t do much for the staff. If your locale doesn’t make exceptions for employees of bars, be sure to get on that. I have more than one story of a waitress who has been mugged behind the restaurant during a smoke break.


Personally, I avoid bars with young crowds. It’s my decision. I do this because I like to avoid the riff-raff that usually comes with that age group. Sorry if I have offended our younger readers, but I have broken up far more fights at the “18 to party, 21 to drink” places than I have in the 21+ strictly enforced spots.


What about gun-free establishments? This is where property rights and self-defense rights are in direct contradiction, and that’s tough. As a business owner myself, I respect the right to run your business the way YOU want with minimal government interference. I simply don’t frequent the establishments that deny my right to carry. It’s American freedom. I eat and drink where I want, and they get the environment and clientele they want. No hard feelings, I will gladly take my business elsewhere.


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